Jacen's Rants

Random unstructured thoughts and ramblings

An absolute bombshell of a story has dropped in the world of IndyCar. For the uninitiated, let me break down what exactly happened.

IndyCar race cars are equipped with a system called Push to Pass (or P2P for short). This allows the drivers at the push of a button to boost the car's engine output by around 50 horsepower for up to 20 second intervals. The drivers have a pool of time that P2P can be activated for, usually 150-200 seconds depending on the race.

For the initial start of the race, as well as any restarts following periods of full-course caution, P2P is disabled until the completion of the first green-flag lap, at which time drivers are free to start pressing the P2P button again and using up their allotted pool of time.

So then, to Sunday, March 10 2024: the date of IndyCar's season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The checkered flag falls at the end of the race on Team Penske's Josef Newgarden after an absolutely dominant day. Finishing third is teammate Scott McLaughlin, and Will Power ends up finishing fourth.

Fast-forward 45 days to April 24th. It comes out that all three Penske cars had software that bypassed IndyCar's restriction on P2P for starts and restarts, meaning they had access to that extra horsepower almost a full lap before the rest of the field.

How this was caught is an interesting story on its own. Generally, IndyCar's race control enables unrestricted P2P for the entire field during practices and pre-race warmup to give teams a chance to test if it works and how the cars react to it. However, due to chasing technical issues during pre-race warmup for IndyCar's second race in Long Beach, California, P2P was not enabled for the field for the first 10 minutes of the 30 minute practice session. This made it very interesting when the three Penske cars, and only the Penske cars, were using P2P during that period when they shouldn't have had access to it.

This triggered a review of the previous race at St. Pete, where it was determined that Newgarden and McLaughlin did indeed use P2P a lap early during the race. Power, despite also having early access to the button, did not actually press it.

As a result, over a month after the conclusion of the race, Newgarden and McLaughlin were both disqualified from the race. Power, despite not actually using his advantage, was still docked 10 championship points for having the cheat installed, and all three cars received monetary fines, as well as the forfeit of their prize money from the race.

Team Penske's claim is that software that was used during testing was accidentally not removed from the cars. The excuse falls apart immediately. Newgarden and McLaughlin are experienced IndyCar drivers who are almost certainly aware that the P2P button does nothing until the conclusion of their first lap. And yet, both of them went to the button anyway. The only reason they would have done this is if they knew P2P would be active. It's extremely clear that this was no accident; it was completely willful cheating.

That isn't really the main concern. The bigger issue is the conflict of interest that has existed in IndyCar for the past four years, back when Roger Penske purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar series.

In case you still weren't sure, yes, he is also the owner of Team Penske.

IndyCar race cars send a lot of live telemetry back to the car's pit box, the team that fields the car, the manufacturers of the engines, and to IndyCar race control themselves. In fact, it was this very live telemetry that tipped IndyCar off to the potential issue and lead them to take a second look at the previous race at St. Pete. So then, how did the P2P usage slip through the cracks back then and only get noticed over a month later?

I've seen people praising IndyCar for coming down hard on Penske with the pretty heavy-handed penalties, and that's definitely something to be applauded. That said, IndyCar also didn't really have a choice. If they tried to sweep things under the rug it would only have made things infinitely worse when the truth inevitably came to light down the road. This isn't IndyCar having integrity by not giving their owner special treatment. This is IndyCar having no choice but to penalize and penalize hard.

All in all, this is a very bad look for Team Penske, Roger Penske himself, and the IndyCar series. The case is closed and there's really nothing more that can be or should be done, but, as a big fan of IndyCar, I can only hope that there isn't any additional fallout from everything that's happened and the IndyCar series can continue to grow and thrive.


Jacen Sekai — 2/1/2024 11:18 PM Man SIF2 is somehow simultaneously a really fun throwback to my first foray into rhythm games and a super disappointing mess It is just “SIF but with an updated UI” which, despite what the rest of the community thinks, I don't think it necessarily a reason it shouldn't exist but a lot of the implementation feels lazy and not well put together Lots of little things like button presses feel super unsatisfying between the audio and visual feedback and a lot of the various menus just play the main menu theme rather than having a unique background track But despite all that, just playing SIF again was a ton of fun Brought me back to the early days of playing rhythm games on the lowest difficulty, not really challenging myself, and still having a ton of fun It's a massive shame that SIF is just going to not exist anymore, because it's definitely a thing that needs to continue to exist


Jacen Sekai — 2/1/2024 11:28 PM I haven't even been that attached to SIF for a pretty long time but I was reminded today that SIF was actually my first rhythm game and while I was streaming, I was reminded how influential it was for my choice to transition over to Bandori which was the reason I ended up transitioning over to Project Sekai so basically without SIF I probably wouldn't be into rhythm games at all


Beware of BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! spoilers

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call the Bandori MyGO anime one of the best anime of all time. It's utterly emotion-filled, and every episode hits you with a gut punch. I'm sure there will be plenty of people writing in-depth reviews and analyses, so I'm going to focus on my personal observation: every character in this anime is a terrible self-centered person.

Anon – Anon's base motivation for everything she does is increasing her own clout and popularity, and while she does mellow out and start caring a bit more for her fellow bandmates, she never fully loses her gremlin tendencies.

Soyo – From the very beginning, you can tell something is not quite right with Soyo. She claims that everything she did for MyGO was solely for the purpose of trying to reform CRYCHIC (and I am inclined to believe her), and she crosses a number of lines trying to get in contact with Sakiko under the guise of wanting what was best for everyone when realistically she was the only one who actually wanted CRYCHIC to be reformed. Saki may not have had the full picture, but she also wasn't completely off-base: “you only ever think about yourself, don't you?”

Taki – Taki is a bit less black-and-white than all of the other characters. She clearly cares a lot about Tomori and legitimately wants what's best for her and the band. However, she herself admits that she tried to do what she thought was best for Tomori without actually considering Tomori's feelings.

Rana – Rana is Rana. I don't think she's physically capable of thinking or caring about anyone other than herself. Everything she does in the anime is for her own amusement or satisfaction, even if some of her actions do end up helping out the other members incidentally.

Sakiko – Whatever her reasoning for abruptly quitting CRYCHIC and breaking contact with its members, she handled it in the worst possible way and ended up hurting a lot of people in the aftermath.

Mutsumi – If Saki is the instigator of the drama in MyGO, Mutsumi is the one who dealt the fatal blow. Soyo observes that Mutsumi has no filter, so it's possible she didn't actually intend to hurt anyone with her words, but “I didn't mean to” isn't an acceptable excuse to hide behind.

Tomori – The only major character who isn't just straight up a terrible person. While you could argue that a few of her actions throughout the course of the show might have been a little selfish, at the end of the day her motivation is just to be a normal person, which is a wish that everyone is entitled to having. While when all is said and done she doesn't quite get that wish, at least she gets to have the company of people who are just as lost as she is.

At the end of the day, pretty much everyone in this show is a terrible person in some way, and the fact that it still manages to get you to care about and root for all of them is just another testament to how good of an anime it is.

#BanGDream #Bandori #MyGO #anime


Screenshot from Reddit: "Who's a character who you feel is misinterpreted by the fandom?"

Jacen Sekai — 04/24/2023 4:49 PM A few people said “Rui” so let's talk about Rui His backstory is that he was mostly abandoned by his friends because he kept getting them involved in things they didn't want to be involved in and kept getting them hurt He does things for his own curiosity and amusement and doesn't think about the feelings of anyone else He had an entire event around him actually considering other people's feelings and the rest of WxS said “no, you must stop considering the feelings of others” He is not misunderstood or misinterpreted; he is just actively a bad character Between all of the idol and idol-adjacent franchises I have consumed, he is the only character who I actively dislike


Beware of Braking Point spoilers

For the uninitiated, the Formula 1 video games added a feature in F1 2021 called “Braking Point”. It's basically a story mode, where you role play as a young F1 driver and get thrown into various scenarios along the way. As far as stories go, it's definitely not going to win any awards, but sometimes a cringe campy story is all you really want from a video game.

One of the recurring characters in Breaking Point is Devon Butler, who is basically the embodiment of what your average American thinks an F1 driver is: arrogant, with more money than sense or skills. He's built up as a rival to the main protagonist, Aiden Jackson, and takes every opportunity to antagonize him for no reason other than being a dick.

In F1 23, Devon and Aiden find themselves as teammates on a fledgling F1 team trying to establish itself in the series. It's revealed very early on that the team is at least partially funded by Devon's father.

The big plot twist of Braking Point 2 is a reveal that Devon is suffering from hearing issues, and is forced to retire mid-season. The way the game presents this to the player is intended to make the player feel sympathy for Devon, despite him being an irredeemable jerk to Aiden moment earlier and only having an F1 seat thanks to his father's money.

The problem with most story arcs that try to make you feel sympathy for villains and antagonists is that most of the time there's no effort put into making the characters sympathetic before the moment the audience is meant to feel sympathy for them. You can't just take an intentionally unlikeable character and expect the audience to immediately like them the nanosecond you want them to.

Granted, Braking Point also has a problem where none of the characters are particularly likeable, but that's a rant for another time.


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